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You can now ask Google Maps questions with new Q&A feature

Google today announced it was adding a Q&A feature to Google Maps and Search for Android users.

When you look at a Maps page for the business or landmark, you will have the option to see questions others have asked of the business, as well as ask your own. You’ll be notified when someone else — or the owner of the page itself — answers any of your questions.

The questions will be part of the page, so when you find the page on Maps or when you search for it, you’ll see it. You can upvote helpful questions, which will appear further up the page. Business owners can add their own answered questions to preempt other viewers.

I’ll be waiting to see if the same thing will apply to continents — hey, you can review them, so why not ask them questions? If it happens, I’d be curious to know who’d answer for Antarctica.

The feature is now rolling out to Android users globally.

All your questions answered on Google Maps and Search on Google Blog

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Gadgets

One of Nest’s cameras can now double as a Google Assistant

After Google announced earlier this month that it was going to wrap Nest back into Google’s hardware operation, everyone figured we’d see a bit more overlap between the two. Sure enough, just two weeks later: the Nest Cam IQ Indoor is getting support for Google Assistant.

Nest says the app update that lets users toggle Google Assistant functionality should hit sometime today. The Nest Cam IQ already has a microphone and speaker built-in for two-way communications, so this just repurposes that existing hardware.

Once you’ve turned on the functionality, Google Assistant on the Cam IQ should work the same as it does on any Google Home device (minus a few things that would generally require a bigger speaker, like playing music, making phone calls, or listening to the news) — just say “OK Google” followed by your question.

It sounds like this functionality is only coming to the Cam IQ Indoor for now — so don’t try barking commands at the outdoor Cam or your old Dropcams just yet.
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Gadgets

Nest rolls out a $5 cloud recording plan for its cameras

Just a quick bit of news for those with Nest cams around the house: a new, cheaper Nest Aware (read: the cloud recording service that also gives the camera a bit more smarts) plan is on the way.

Nest has long offered two plans: a $10/month plan that lets you store the last 10 days of video history, and a $30/month plan that gives you 30 days of video history. This new plan will cost $5 per month and, as you’ve probably deduced, will give you five days of video history.

This is something folks have been asking for for a while now. Most people don’t really need 10 days or more of their video logs; in most cases, the bit of security footage you’re most interested in is from the last day or two. It’s also nice news for those with multiple Nest cams — each one needs its own Nest Aware subscription, so that $10 per month minimum added up fast.

In addition to the cloud video recording, a Nest Aware subscription also taps the cloud to teach the Nest Cam a few new tricks: it lets you set “Activity Zones” (letting you set up alerts when there’s motion in certain areas like, say, a door way), create timelapses and it can try to tell whether that thing moving around your living room is a person or just your dog.
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Business

Google tries to make Android more enterprise-friendly with new recommendation program


With so many Android devices out there to choose from, it’s not always easy to find one that’s enterprise-friendly. To help alleviate that problem, Google announced the Android Enterprise Recommended program today.

As the name implies, it’s designed to point enterprise IT departments at devices that Google has deemed to be enterprise-ready. This involves a number of criteria, including minimum hardware specifications for Android 7.0 + devices, support for bulk deployment and managed profiles and devices for a consistent application experience across deployed devices. The full list includes all of the minimum app and hardware specifications required to be included in the program.

Photo: Google

The program also requires that within 90 days of Google releasing them manufacturers make security updates available for at least three years. Ninety days feels a bit long if there is a serious vulnerability in the wild, but Google indicated this was not a fixed list and the company would update the requirements as needed over time.

As for the devices they are recommending, these include a broad range of usual suspects, such as BlackBerry KEYone and Motion; Google Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL (of course); Huawei Mate 10, Mate 10 Pro, P10, P10 Plus, P10 Lite and P smart; and LG V30 and G6, among others.

Conspicuously missing from this list is anything by Samsung, a company that has programs in place like Knox specifically designed for the enterprise. There are also no HTC phones, but to be fair, the company left the door open for more devices and additional partners to be added over time.

“You can expect more Android Enterprise Recommended devices to be added in the coming weeks and months. Throughout 2018, we will also be applying the Android Enterprise Recommended framework to additional partner types, including OEMs of ‘dedicated’ and rugged devices, mobile carriers, enterprise mobility management (EMM) providers and systems integrators,” Google director of Android Enterprise, David Still wrote in a company blog post announcing the program.

While fewer companies are probably still buying phones for their employees — those kind of programs tended to peak with the old stalwart BlackBerry devices in the days before “Bring Your Own Device” programs popped up — those who do and want to use Android need to have devices that they can manage and deploy in a consistent way. This program is designed to provide a minimum set of specifications to meet that.
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